Tony Allen Seeks to Bounce Back from Knee Injury

September 29, 2007

Tony Allen will know he's ready for the NBA when he can do something that may come more naturally than anything else for the Celtics guard.

``It will be when I can dunk on somebody,'' said Allen, recovering from the second major knee surgery of his young career. ``I'm doing everything right now. I'm catching and shooting, running up and down, rebounding. I've been scrimmaging against some of the rookies.

``But I don't feel it yet when I first-step someone and get by him. I don't feel like hammering the basketball yet. But the first time I dunk on someone, that's when I know I'm going to be 100 percent.''

All things considered, however, Allen sees himself ahead of schedule. Danny Ainge pointed to the Celtics' Nov. 2 season opener against Washington as a realistic date for Allen's return to availability, and the guard didn't dispute that yesterday.

``It's basically on me, and how I feel,'' he said. ``I think they were amazed when they saw me play pickup ball. They said, `Whoa, he shouldn't be doing that,' so I know that I'm ahead.''

Nor will Allen take kindly to being coddled.

``I'm going to voice my opinion about how I feel,'' he said, breaking one of Bill Belichick's sacred rules. ``But I want to prove that I belong out there, between these lines. I want to prove that everything is fine.''

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